Steyning hosts Brighton & Hove Russian Choir

Brighton & Hove Russian Choi
Brighton & Hove Russian Choi

Fans of international music and song have a treat in store this Saturday. The Brighton & Hove Russian Choir will be performing in Steyning on November 2 at 7.30pm at the Church of St Andrew and St Cuthman to help raise funds for the West Sussex village’s famous cultural and arts festival in 2014.

The choir was founded in 2009 and has a busy performance schedule.

The 30 strong choral group has sung at a number of impressive events, including the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars, London Maslenitsa on Trafalgar Square, Brighton Early Music Festival, Steyning Festival, Brighton Bandstand programme, Russian Art House for Brighton Christmas Open Houses, Sussex University for the Russian Society, for GB-Russia Society in London and at the Brighton Dome Christmas fair.

Everything is sung in Russian but from carefully translated texts with an introduction in English about the history and context of each piece. The group brings together music lovers of all backgrounds and singing levels with or without any knowledge of Russian language and culture.

Led by the inspirational singer choir leader, pianist and music lecturer, Polina Shephard, who was born in Siberia and grew up in a Russian-Jewish home rich in tradition and cultural activities, the choir was a prize winner at the II Russian Song Competition in London 2010 and The Maslenitsa Competition London 2013.

Polina is a passionate musician. Whilst living in Kazan (capital of Tatarstan) and studying at the State Academy, Polina joined Russia’s first klezmer band for 60 years, Simcha. She also became the principal Yiddish choir leader of the former Soviet Union, composing original material for large groups of voices and touring internationally with her Quartet Ashkenazim.

As a pianist Polina works with the Sound & Light Cinematic Duo (UK), who play live accompaniment to rare black and white films.

She has been Choir Leader of the Russian Choir of Brighton & Hove since 2007, and the London Russian choir since 2013. She has just returned from a working trip to Brazil and leads workshops and choirs at a host of international choral events and festivals, including Kleztival in Brazil (Sao Paolo, Rio-de-Janeiro, 2011-2013) and Klezfest and Ot Azoy London (2004-13).

Polina has been Programme Director for the International Klezmer Music Festival and Seminar in Moscow in 2005 and 2006, the International Festival of Jewish Culture and the Competition of Jewish musicians in Kazan, Russia, in 2002 and 2003.

Tickets for the concert are still available and can be bought at the Steyning Book Shop, 106 High Street, Steyning. Tel: 01903 812062. Drinks will be available during the interval.